Twice in the past 8 months, i've experienced a gentle rebuke.
The first was so tender - & so unexpected - that i immediately burst into tears of sorrow and repentance at the nudge that made a radical change in my understanding... i went from believing one thing, to another in a single moment - the rebuke was personal and specific, and i immediately felt gratitude.
The second happened on Sunday morning.
We were sitting in church & suddenly i felt that gentle, prodding voice...
"Why didn't you set your timer for my 15 minutes of prayer for family on Friday?"
"What? Father... i prayed all day on Friday!! You know that i fasted and i spent more time than any other Friday on my knees..."
Friday had brought heartbreak for a family we know. i had prayed with my children, and with a friend who came to my house and sat on a bed with me as we clutched hands and brought this family to our Father God - who loves each individual in this painful, hurting situation... i had asked my little ones to pray with me as i ached throughout the day - and it felt funny now... to feel a rebuke for not having set my timer to pray for family...
But, as with the other rebuke - that had come like a breeze into a room with no window - i knew in that moment... that i was wrong.
This 15 on Friday is something different. It's something that He's asking me to do - diligently, obediently, consistently... It's different than skipping a meal. It's different than our prayer time in the morning... It's different than the other times that i pray during the day. It's personal, specific... and it's for *me* to do. & it's something that i didn't make the time for on Friday.
And i didn't feel a crushing condemnation... i felt a gentle rebuke, like, "Hey - little daughter... this year is hard, it's full of darkness and tearing and breaking up. i've provided the opportunity for you, in this time i'm asking you to set aside, to bring it all to me. This is for your protection. Come."
Literally... in church... i did that, 'palm to the face...'
"ohhhhh...." i groaned.... understanding flooding red into my cheeks.
Is this why i can hear Him differently... more clearly... than i have before? Is it because of the time set aside - that has challenged me to introduce an ounce of discipline to a spiritual relationship that has often depended on a whim?
i don't know...
But i know that i'm grateful to hear His voice...
&Holy Father?... i'll obey.
Have you ever heard that gentle reproach that changed your thinking in an instant?